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4 members of same family graduate from same CDL program



From left Kodi Sasse, Kendall Sasse, Kenneth Pope, Great Basin College CDL instructor; Katelynn Sasse and Cassandra Sasse. (Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.)

ELKO, Nev. — True grit and determination are just a few ways to describe the Sasse family. It’s not every day members of the same family graduate from the same commercial driving license program, let alone four. But Cassandra Sasse and three of her children (Kendall, Katelynn and Kodi) turned to the trucking industry as a way to support their family.

“We’re no strangers to heavy duty trucks since my husband holds a Class A CDL, so my kids and I started looking at the trucking industry for opportunities,” said Cassandra Sasse. “I have seven kids, and four of them still need supervision. It was important for me to find a career that would give me the flexibility I need to watch over my young kids.”

After relocating to Elko, Nevada, the Sasse family discovered that Elko’s thriving commercial transportation industry offered the financial and time flexibility the family sought. On top of that, Cassandra, Kendall, Katelynn and Kodi each applied for and received full scholarships to attend Great Basin College’s six-week CDL program, making the decision to enter the trucking industry even more enticing. They became the first students to receive scholarships for the Great Basin College CDL program.

In January, Cassandra, Kendall and Katelynn Sasse enrolled in the Great Basin College CDL program and graduated with their Class A CDL in March. Kodi Sasse waited to enter the same program in May, so that she would be 21 years old and eligible to drive out-of-state following her graduation in June.

While the Sasse family was in the middle of transitioning into a new way of life in Elko, the Great Basin College CDL program was also going through changes. During the time that members of the Sasse family were enrolled in the CDL program, Great Basin College added a new Kenworth T680 in February.

After first learning how to operate Great Basin College’s previous Class 8 truck in January, Cassandra, Katelynn and Kendall Sasse, were the first students to drive the Kenworth T680. The differences between the T680 and the previous truck they were driving were night and day.

Kenneth Pope, Great Basin College CDL program instructor who has more than 22 years of driving and teaching experience, was a big advocator for the program’s administration to add the Kenworth T680. “In my time on the road, a Kenworth truck was my favorite truck to drive,” Pope said. “Kenworth sets the bar high for the trucks they produce. When the opportunity came about to add a new truck, I told the administration to give Kenworth a hard look. The T680 is a reliable truck that will provide me many years of teaching the next generation of drivers how to operate a Class 8 truck on the best equipment available.”

Great Basin’s Kenworth T680 features a 76-inch high-roof sleeper and 500 hp engine. A 13-speed manual transmission was spec’d so that students would not be limited to operating automated transmission trucks once they graduated.

“We want to ensure that our students have had plenty of practice operating a manual transmission before beginning their careers,” said Pope. “In Elko, our elevation is at more than 5,000 feet and we have mountain passes all around us. I teach my students how to navigate steep slopes, acting as if they are hauling a full payload. It doesn’t matter what the weather conditions are – learning how to drive in tough conditions makes you that much more prepared for professional driving. You can imagine the beating the transmission is taking from students who are just learning.”

The CDL program Great Basin College offers consists of no more than four students at a time. The small class size allows for students to get lots of hands-on driving experience. For long-distance training, Pope will take students out on a 500 to 600-mile route, switching drivers every 125 miles.

Since 1990, 500 students have graduated from the Great Basin College driving school program, and 92 percent of the students who graduate find a job in the industry. With sufficient funding, Great Basin College’s CDL program will hold seven courses this year. Pope expects the Kenworth T680 will accumulate more than 30,000 miles in its first year as the program’s primary truck of use.

“We feel fortunate to be able to offer our students a new truck for them to learn in and develop the skills they need once they graduate from the program,” Pope said.

Since graduating from Great Basin CDL program, Cassandra, Katelynn and Kendall Sasse are driving professionally, hauling heavy equipment locally for mining companies in the Elko area. While the family describes themselves as the “Diesel Family,” Cassandra and her kids originally had no plans of becoming truck drivers, but they have quickly embraced the trucking industry.

“We’re excited about the opportunities we have in the industry,” said Cassandra Sasse. “Our ultimate goal is to own and operate our own trucks and eventually drive long haul.”

For more information on the Great Basin College CDL program, call (775) 753-2202 or go to



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The Nation

SBTC’s anti-ELD petition stalls, Lamb uses ‘phone call’ to put blame on OOIDA



Small Business in Transportation Coalition President James Lamb tells viewers his investigators have uncovered evidence that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is sabotaging his organization’s efforts to get 100,000 signatures on a petition to ask the White House to immediately suspend the ELD mandate. (Courtesy: SMALL BUSINESS IN TRANSPORTATION COALITION)

In an online editorial we posted August 22, we described the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) as positioning itself to be a one-organization wrecking crew targeting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the electronic logging device mandate.

In particular, SBTC and its president, James Lamb, have been on a tear against electronic logging devices.

(This is the same James Lamb who in early 2018 agreed to settle a probe into his business dealings brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which accused Lamb and several of his businesses of cheating owner-operators out of millions of dollars over the course of several years. Lamb denied the charges, but the FTC is in the process of paying out $900,000 to truckers who the FTC says were scammed.) 

After the FMCSA denied its application asking that carriers with under 50 employees be exempted from the ELD mandate, SBTC asked FMCSA to reconsider the denial. 

With no apparent hope that FMCSA would reverse its decision (remember ELDs were ordered by Congress), Lamb and SBTC have moved up the ladder to Congress and now to the White House.


Currently, SBTC is asking drivers to sign a petition asking Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and President Donald Trump to immediately suspend the ELD rule.

SBTC says it needs to have 100,000 signatures (it’s not likely to happen) before the White House will respond to the request to suspend the rule (that’s not going to happen).

On October 31, Lamb published an e-mail asking the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to join SBTC in support of the petition.

Lamb apparently never heard from OOIDA, and with his petition drive stalled at around 30,000, Lamb decided to blame OOIDA for the slowdown and appears to have set out to make his point with an elaborate scheme that he is reporting through his e-mail blasts to the media and others, claiming that OOIDA is sabotaging his petition effort.

In a video released at 5:20 p.m. Central time November 11, Lamb said he had some “disturbing” information regarding the ELD suspension petition.

“We have through our private investigators uncovered that OOIDA has been sabotaging our petition. We hired a private investigator to follow up on leads that we have received regarding possible interferences with our petition and boy, did we find out what’s going on here.

“I’m going to play you the tape the investigators sent me (actually the tape of the phone call made only hours or maybe even minutes before) so you can listen to it yourself and boy is it bad news for Todd Spencer (OOIDA president and CEO) and this woman … at OOIDA.”

That “call” was obviously definitely recorded November 11 because the caller mentioned having to work on the holiday, which was Veterans Day. The man said his name was Mike (he also used the name Michael).

It was easy to tell the call was a set up because the man who identified himself as Mike was obviously and purposely speaking into a recording device and recording the other end of the call from a speaker phone.

(An average observer would likely have thought the call was legitimate and that Lamb’s investigators had worked hard to uncover it, but we rather suspect it was a set up and the tape was handed to him shortly after it was made. Or he might even have been in the room when the “call” was made.

A transcript of the tape shows Mike told the woman at OOIDA he wasn’t a member of OOIDA but had heard about the petition campaign and wanted to know if OOIDA was in support of the petition.

He even claimed he’d never heard of James Lamb.

The woman at OOIDA offered to send Mike information about Lamb.

She asked for his e-mail address and after a long hesitation he gave two: and

E-mails sent to those addresses by The Trucker bounced back as undeliverable. (Surprise, surprise).

Based on the transcript, Mike kept trying to coerce the woman into telling him not to sign the petition (the “call” lasted almost 15 minutes), but not once did she do that, only suggesting that petitions were not effective in getting change in Washington.

Contacting members of Congress is the most effective way, she said, citing an instance when OOIDA and its members contacted a Congressman, contacts that led to him reversing his support of speed limiters.

The woman told Mike that some members of OOIDA had signed the petition.

Mike kept on and on, obviously and in the opinion of this writer hoping the woman would tell him not to sign the petition, but the woman said absolutely nothing to discourage drivers from signing the petition.

At one point, the woman reminded Mike that OOIDA had been fighting against ELDs and their predecessors since 1978.

After the tape of the telephone “call” ended on his video, Lamb reiterated that OOIDA had done everything in its power to keep truckers from signing the petition.

“Mr. Spencer it looks like we have a problem. Our legal team (the same one that handed Lamb the tape of the supposed phone call) is going to be reviewing this and you are going to have some explaining to do to a judge,” he said.

We too, have a problem, and it’s with Mr. Lamb trying to lay the blame for his failure directly on someone else.

We call on Mr. Lamb and his organization to get off his anti-ELD horse.

That horse is in the barn, sir, and it’s not coming out.

If you are as powerful as you say you are, turn that power into doing something about the real issues that plague trucking today, matters such as driver pay, the lack of safe parking and driver detention, just to name a few.

OOIDA and many others in the trucking industry are really concerned about those issues.

So should you be.



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The Nation

Please grab hold. Please grab hold.



As things turn colder around America, here is yet another video of a truckers ice encounter.
You know in their mind they were repeating… “please grab hold”!
Location: Somewhere along Lake Shore Drive in Decatur, IL.

Courtesy: WANDTV

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The Nation

86.5% of trucks inspected during CVSA Brake Safety Week had no OOS issues



During a roadside inspection, if an inspector identifies critical vehicle inspection item violations, he or she will render the vehicle out of service, which means those violations must be corrected before the vehicle may proceed. (The Trucker file photo)

GREENBELT, Md. — The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said Tuesday that inspectors conducted 34,320 commercial motor vehicle inspections during CVSA’s Brake Safety Week and placed 4,626 vehicles — or 13.5% — out of service after critical brake-related conditions were identified during roadside inspections.

CVSA noted that a majority — 86.5% — of vehicles inspected during the September 15-21 time period did not have any critical brake-related inspection item violations.

In 2018, CVSA said out of 35,080 inspections, 4,955 trucks — or 14.1% — were placed out of service.

In 2017, CVSA conducted only a Brake Safety Day, which resulted in 14% of trucks inspected being put out of service.

During a roadside inspection, if an inspector identifies critical vehicle inspection item violations, he or she will render the vehicle out of service, which means those violations must be corrected before the vehicle may proceed.

Sixty jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. participated in this year’s Brake Safety Week.

In the U.S., 49 jurisdictions conducted 31,864 roadside inspections and placed 4,344 (13.6%) commercial motor vehicles out of service because of brake-related violations. In Canada, 11 jurisdictions conducted 2,456 roadside inspections and 282 (11.5%) commercial motor vehicles were placed out of service for brake-related violations.

As part of this year’s Brake Safety Week, inspectors also collected and reported data on brake hoses/tubing.

  • 2,567 units had chafed rubber hose violations.
  • 1,347 units had chafed thermoplastic hose violations.
  • 2,704 violations of § 393.45 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and Canadian equivalent violations included chafed rubber hoses.
  • There were 1,683 violations of § 393.45 of the FMCSRs and Canadian equivalent violations that included kinked thermoplastic hoses.

“Inspectors conduct more than 4 million roadside inspections every year and checking brake components is just one element of the inspection procedure inspectors perform on commercial motor vehicles every day,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “This inspection and enforcement event reminds drivers and motor carriers of the importance of properly functioning brakes and spotlights the work done by inspectors, motor carriers and drivers every day to keep our roadways safe by ensuring vehicles are in appropriate working condition.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, highway crash fatality data for 2018, there was a 2.4% decline in overall fatalities, the second consecutive year of reduced crash fatalities. However, conversely, for 2018, large-truck related fatalities increased by 0.9%.

“While we applaud the decrease in the overall number of fatalities on our roadways last year, we’re alarmed by the increase in the number of large-truck-related fatalities,” Samis said. “CVSA conducts high-profile, high-visibility enforcement events, such as Brake Safety Week, to reduce the number of fatalities occurring on our roadways. Roadway safety is our number one priority and we will continue our efforts to improve brake safety throughout North America.”

Brake Safety Week is an inspection, enforcement, education and awareness initiative that is part of the Operation Airbrake Program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.




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